New Haven talks finances, employee health insurance, B&O taxes


By Mindy Kearns - Special to OVP



NEW HAVEN — Finances, employee health insurance, and business and occupation taxes were all discussed when members of the New Haven Town Council held their most recent meeting.

Present were Mayor Phil Serevicz, Recorder Becky Benson, and council members Jessica Rickard, Roy Dale Grimm, Colton McKinney, Stephen Ohlinger, Jr. and Steve Carpenter.

Spending and the town budget were major items discussed, with it being noted that the town is spending more than it is taking in. While Supervisor Buzzy Duncan said nothing is being purchased that isn’t needed, office worker Kelly Gilland said it is something that needs closely monitored. Duncan said significant funds are being spent on the antiquated garbage truck, which is using a lot of hydraulic fluid.

A discrepancy in employee health insurance premiums was also cited as a large expense. According to the mayor, the town is suppose to be paying 80 percent of the monthly premium, with employees paying 20 percent. It was discovered, however, that employees are paying anywhere from five to seven percent, with one employee not paying anything.

“That’s where a lot of money is going,” Serevicz said.

Following an executive session, the council agreed to make sure the premiums are split 80/20 percent, with Grimm abstaining from the vote.

The mayor added $70,000 had been spent on repairing the town streets. He said he also made the decision to spend over $90,000 on four sewer pumps that were desperately needed, but added the money will come from rescue plan funds.

As a possible way to increase revenue, it was suggested to implement the B&O tax, which is already in the town charter but has never been collected, with the exception of utilities. The item will be placed on the next meeting agenda, it was decided.

Another issued discussed was workers compensation. It was announced in the meeting that the town is on the verge of being dropped by its workers compensation carrier. Further investigation will be made.

In other action, the council:

Approved two building permits for Carolyn Bird to replace doors and windows, and Tatum Roush for a roof;

Approved a $50 bingo prize for Bend Area CARE, and a $50 donation for the Wahama color guard;

Heard questions from resident Harry Roush concerning police vehicles, Layne Street paving, garbage truck, new building, software, and the trackhoe;

Tabled a pay increase for Gilland;

Set end-of-year employee pay incentives at $200 for full-time employees and $100 for part-time employees, with Grimm abstaining;

Agreed to submit information sought through a freedom of information act request regarding an employee contract;

Heard a report from Duncan that employees recently completed a first aid and CPR training;

Agreed to spend up to $1,000 to upgrade electrical wiring at the park;

Agreed to place a decorated Christmas tree in front of town hall in memory of the late Tyler Grimm, a former employee; and,

Discussed the need for someone to oversee the community center.

The next meeting will be Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.

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By Mindy Kearns

Special to OVP

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at mindykearns1@hotmail.com.

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at mindykearns1@hotmail.com.